I hope that you are enjoying the beginning of your summer. The weather in New York City is beautiful! Our New York staff is working hard to prepare for 125 staff and volunteer evangelists who will be joining us for one of the most significant outreach campaigns ever conducted by Your Mission to the Jewish People—Shalom New York.
We will focus our efforts this summer on the greater New York area, which is home to more than two million Jewish people. New York has the largest concentration of Jewish people in the world, which is why I sometimes call it “Israel West”! This is why we have our International Headquarters in Manhattan and our training and seminary program in Brooklyn. It is also why we will take the last week of July and first week of August to passionately share the gospel with the Jewish people of New York City.
Your prayers for our preparation will be deeply appreciated. We have already initiated our digital media campaign, offering our evangelistic book, Isaiah 53 Explained, and the opportunity to sign a petition against antisemitism. We will be reaching folks in the New York area through intensified Facebook and YouTube ads, as well as promoting the more than eighty testimonies of Messianic Jews on our website, ifoundshalom.com.
Also, because we are developing such a great love and burden for the ultra-Orthodox Jewish people in this area, we are advertising the Yiddish version of the Jesus film (thanks to the generosity of Cru, formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). In a previous experiment, hundreds of Yiddish-speaking Jewish people watched a ten-minute portion of the video, where they clearly heard the gospel of our Lord Jesus in their very own language.
It is our plan to have our volunteers who are coming to New York City for this outreach follow up with the Jewish people with whom we have made contact through these digital media campaigns.
We are excited and looking forward to this time of preparation for our on-the-ground campaign, which will take place in parks, on the beaches, and in other public places. Staff and volunteers will be reaching out to Jewish people through book tables in Jewish areas, by handing out gospel tracts on the streets, as well as performing skits and music.
Two Major Outreach Events
We are planning two major events for which I ask your prayers. First, we will conduct a seminar called “The Value of the Old Testament Scriptures for 21st-Century Life.” We believe this will be of interest to both the Jewish and Christian communities. We have two great speakers: a professor from Kings College in New York City and another from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. On Thursday night, August 8, 2019, we have scheduled a major debate in Manhattan between Dr. Michael Brown, a Messianic Jewish apologist, and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a well-known Orthodox rabbi.
We are going all out this summer, and what better way to celebrate our 125th anniversary than to reaffirm what Chosen People Ministries has been all about for more than a century! Our mission statement says it all: “Chosen People Ministries exists to pray for, evangelize, disciple, and serve the Jewish community everywhere, and help fellow believers do the same.”
Your brothers and sisters who serve with Chosen People Ministries in more than twenty cities in the United States and in sixteen other countries around the globe believe that Jewish evangelism is a special mandate from God. It can only be accomplished when men and women who love the Messiah work together for the salvation of God’s chosen people.
It is my hope that we are on the same page biblically, and that this will encourage your financial support of our efforts this summer. We hope that you will be motivated to share our ministry with friends from your Bible study, church, or congregation, as well. Perhaps they can also engage with Your Mission to the Jewish People in support of this great effort in New York City this summer.
So what does the Bible teach about Jewish evangelism? Clearly, one of the foundational passages, which we have explained before, is found in Romans 1:16. The Apostle Paul writes, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
This passage is easily understood, but not as easily applied. I am sure that Paul did not expect the Roman Christians to evangelize the Jewish people in their area first, and then once they were done, to begin working among the Gentiles. It is not a sequential mandate but rather a priority of heart Paul had in mind. Sharing the gospel with the Jewish people should be viewed as a priority, which he links to the second coming of Jesus. In effect, the apostle is telling us that we can all have a small part in bringing about the Lord’s return by sharing the gospel with the Jewish people. When God’s chosen people respond positively to Jesus, repent, and return to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by accepting the One who was pierced (Zechariah 12:10), then Jesus will return and establish His Messianic kingdom.
That is quite a plan! It motivates me to share the gospel with the Jewish people.
What about those of you who do not live in an area like I do, where you can easily walk out of the door and begin sharing the gospel with Jewish people? I think the message is clear that the priority is one of the heart, so that if you cannot share the gospel with Jewish people where you are, you can do everything you can to help those who are able to fulfill this mandate. So when you pray for us and support our ministry, it helps you fulfill the mandate in Romans 1:16. And further, Paul writes in Romans 11:11, “I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.”
The apostle teaches that Gentiles have a critical role in reaching Jewish people. Non-Jewish believers in Jesus are called to reach Jewish people for the Messiah with their faith, love, and transformed lives—which make Jewish people jealous—and also when possible through their proclamation. One of the reasons I am so excited about Shalom New York is because we will have Gentile believers from all across the United States and around the world joining us in New York City from July 27 through August 10 for the outreach! This will give many believers who are not usually able to share Jesus with Jewish people a great opportunity to reach God’s chosen people with the message of Jesus.
Another key portion of the book of Romans that reiterates this message is in chapters 9–11. I have already mentioned the teaching in Romans 11:25–29, which presents the connection between the second coming of Jesus and the end-time repentance of the Jewish people. It also reveals the need for Gentile believers to make Jewish people jealous with the gospel (Romans 11:11). But what will motivate us to do this on a very practical level? Let me share two more passages from Romans 9 and 10 that further develop the basis for Jewish evangelism in the Scriptures.
Paul speaks about his broken heart for the Jewish people in Romans 9:1–3:
I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh….
How could we possibly relate to the above verses when we have so little in common with Paul—a Messianic Jew himself who was willing to step into hell so that a Jewish person might enter heaven? When I think of a burden for the lost, especially for the Jewish people, this is the passage I have in mind that motivates me to give my life in service to the Lord for the sake of my Jewish people. This passage has been the very bedrock of Chosen People Ministries for the last 125 years.
Additionally, in Romans 10:1, Paul speaks about the desperate prayer from the depth of his heart: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.”
May I ask you to join the global staff and families involved with Chosen People Ministries by praying for the salvation of the Jewish people? Pray especially that Jewish people will come to know Jesus as their Messiah this summer as 125 evangelists share the good news with Jewish people from every walk of life. During Shalom New York, we will meet secular and religious Jewish people, as well as many from the former Soviet Union, Israeli expats, and students. We will also witness to many others who need to find the Lord!
Thank you so much for your faithfulness to the Jewish people and to Chosen People Ministries. We could not do the work God has called us to do without your partnership.
Blessings to you, and have a great summer! Please remember to pray for us as we reach out to this incredible number of Jewish people living in the greater New York area next month.
Your brother in the Messiah,